Correctional Officer Salary
Job Description for Correctional Officer
A correctional officer works at a prison, jail, or similar institution. They are responsible for maintaining the safety and control of all persons remanded to the custody of the facility. The help ensure and enforce all procedures and regulations as required by the jurisdiction and management.Read More...
In addition to helping to maintain order, the correctional officer also assists in performing regularly scheduled inspections of the property belonging to incarcerated persons to seek out contraband and other dangerous or banned items so they may be removed immediately. The officer must be available to help any inmate in need of first aid or similar assistance, as well as to help maintain the upkeep and sanitation of the facility; they are expected to report maintenance and repair needs to the individuals or department responsible for these areas. Much of the correctional officer’s job involves writing up logs and any necessary incident reports in detail. The officer is expected to structure these reports so that senior officers or wardens can make determinations on discipline or housing as required to help maintain control and order of the facility.
Correctional officers normally have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, plus some vocational training in this specialized field or in law enforcement. Additionally, the institution or legal jurisdiction may require ongoing training related to new challenges and responses related to safe maintenance of prisoner custody.
Correctional officers work in a prison environment, which may be stressful for some workers. Because of the need for 24-hour supervision, these officers are usually scheduled for shift work and should expect that weekends and holidays will be part of the work rotation.
Correctional Officer Tasks
- Maintain security of the jail or institution.
- Supervise prisoners and maintain security, rules, regulations and cleanliness in correctional facility.
- Responsible for transporting or moving prisoners.
- Receive and secure prisoners until their release.
Common Career Paths for Correctional Officer
It's not very common for Correctional Officers to move on to become Registered Nurses. Average pay for a Registered Nurse is $56K annually. With an annual salary of $36K, Corrections Officer is the most common role for Correctional Officers to subsequently assume on their way up the ladder. Transitioning into a Security Officer role — which usually pays $25K — is also typical for Correctional Officers, though less common by comparison.
Correctional Officer / Jailer Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Correctional Officer
Known for taking on a considerable number of Correctional Officers, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), Texas Department of Criminal Justice, The GEO Group, Inc., Dept. of Corrections, and Federal Bureau of Prisons are leading firms in the industry. Heading up the field in terms of compensation, NYSDocs offers the most; Correctional Officers earn $59K on average there. Correctional Officers can also look forward to large paychecks at Federal Bureau of Prisons ($51K), Oregon Department of Corrections ($47K), and Management and Training Corporation ($38K).
Employees at State of Tennessee (TN), Florida Department of Corrections, and Indiana Department of Corrections can also expect below-average earnings of $31K, $32K, and $33K.
Popular Skills for Correctional Officer
Correctional Officers report using a diverse set of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Safety Compliance, Transport, and Oral / Verbal Communication are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 42 percent, 14 percent, and 3 percent, respectively. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Security Risk Management, Writing Procedures & Documentation, and Military. Aptitude in Oral / Verbal Communication tends to also indicate an understanding of Security Policies and Procedures.
Pay by Experience Level for Correctional Officer
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience does not seem to be a strong driver of pay increase in this role. People who have worked for fewer than five years bring home $32K on average. Median compensation in the five-to-10 year group, however, is higher at approximately $36K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Correctional Officers make a median salary of $39K. In the end, the overall pattern seems to be that more experience generally corresponds to higher pay; a Correctional Officer with more than 20 years of experience can earn $48K on average.
Pay Difference by Location
For Correctional Officers, working in the bustling city of Los Angeles has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Correctional Officers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+31 percent), Baltimore (+17 percent), Salem (+15 percent), and Phoenix (+9 percent). The lowest-paying market is Raleigh, which sits 11 percent below the national average. Employers in Lawton and Florida also lean toward paying below-median salaries (11 percent lower and 9 percent lower, respectively).
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